A Colorado State University student team recently placed in the top 10 percent in the national William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition.
The William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition is given each December to undergraduate teams and individuals throughout North America. In total, 2,954 students from 453 colleges and universities competed in this year’s contest.
Five Colorado State students participated in the competition and, as a team, finished 34th, the best of any team from a Colorado university. The University of Colorado at Boulder, the University of Southern Colorado and Colorado College also competed in this year’s event. The top five schools were Harvard, MIT, Duke, UC-Berkeley and Stanford.
Colorado State student John Batchelder earned the 37th best individual score at the competition, ranking in the top 2 percent nationally, and was the only Colorado student to finish in the top 200. Teammates Fritz Obermeyer and Manfred Georg finished in the top 10 percent, and Travis King and Scott Mayer both scored in the top 25 percent in the nation.
The competition’s six-hour exam consisted of twelve challenging mathematical problems worth 10 points each, for a maximum total of 120 points. The median test score was one.
The Colorado State team was coached by mathematics professor Alexander Hulpke, who met with the students each week during the fall semester to discuss Putnam-style problems, introduce interesting techniques and brainstorm solutions. The Department of Mathematics has fielded a team for the Putnam competition every year for 24 years.